Recently, I decided to drive through Winnipeg's North End. I wanted to see for myself the part of the city that everyone tells me to avoid.
I saw heartache, felt it as a woman leaned against the dirty brick of an old hotel in a known prostitution district, where rooms are rented by the hour. Another woman with orange-red hair walked in front of my car. Her eyes gambolled beneath a glaze of overstimulation. She barely made it across the street. Old men with long, frizzy beards stood on the sidewalks, their net worth bundled up in shopping carts.
Whitney Houston is gone. But I remember when she was alive in my family’s kitchen. As a boy, I was awestruck by the power of a Sony radio. My parents kept it high on a shelf, up next to all those red and yellow cookbooks and the potted green ivy.
Once I reached a certain age, I was allowed to touch the radio. My fingers stroked its walnut wood casing. I experimented with those clockwise and counterclockwise movements, exploring a world that went far beyond my small Indiana college town.
There, in the kitchen while helping my mom with the dishes, I heard a voice hit a frequency of celebration that only a soul lost and then found could reach.
Surrounded by the toil of clean and dirty dishes, I fell in love with The Voice.
I’ve been bludgeoning my students for years. It’s a hard lesson, but they’ve got to learn it.
“Look for the good,” I tell them, again and again, until they’re good and bloody.
So why am I so passionate in wielding this aphoristic club? Partly because, once upon a time, those daily swings of grace finally provoked me to get out of a pit. That movement first began with a single Post-it note nailed down to my desk at school. I determined to jot down a few good moments for which I could be thankful. In the beginning, I discovered them slowly.
The song fell from the sky like a life-preserver. Not to release me from my environment, but to steady my perspective.
Yesterday I sat among the Lego shards of a primary-colored catastrophe. As two preschool-aged children stumbled and sifted through the ruins, their vulture-like screams blasted across the blocks. Barefoot, Henry stepped on pointy ridges. And victimized, James writhed as his older brother pillaged his stockpile of shiny, glasslike plastic pegs. Continue reading →
“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26
This verse gets my attention tonight. It makes me question where I’ve been, where I’ve spent my time today. Have I served my Lord today? Have I been standing and walking with Him? Did my footsteps walk in step with His. Did my vision follow His? Or did I just keep Him running in the background, like an application on my desktop, as I went about my business today?